Alyssa Alexander here! I have the opportunity to spend 5 days in England in a few weeks, most of it in London. I’m planning to spend a day in the country, however, and have yet to decide where to go. I was considering Beer, Devon, where I set my first book, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK. I walked the streets of Beer using Google Maps, researched the area and checked out satellite views. I’d love to see it in person!
As the village sits on the ocean, many of those that lived in Beer traditionally made their living by the sea. I discovered the beaches weren’t made of sand, but “shingle” or stones. There are no docks in Beer, so the fishermen pull their boats up onto the shingle.
There was also a great deal of smuggling going on during the Napoleonic era. The smugglers used natural caves and abandoned quarries in the cliffs to hide their goods, a historical fact that I used in THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK.
I also patterned some of my locations after those in Beer. Grace and Julian, my hero and heroine, are married in a church that looks *remarkably* like St. Michael’s Church.
I’m not sure I’m going to get a chance to make it to Beer, as it’s three hours from London. But I still hope to make it to the countryside. If you have been to England, or know of any lovely little villages I should travel to, do tell! I’d love your suggestions!
THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK
He went looking for a traitor. He found a wife.
After he is betrayed by one of his own, British spy Julian Travers, Earl of Langford, refuses to retire without a fight, vowing to find the traitor. But when the trail leads to his childhood home, Julian is forced to return to a place he swore he’d never see again, and meet a woman who may be his quarry—in more ways than one.
Though she may appear a poor young woman dependent on charity, Grace Hannah’s private life is far more interesting. By night, she finds friendship and freedom as a member of a smuggling ring. But when the handsome Julian arrives, she finds her façade slipping, and she is soon compromised, as well as intrigued.
As she and Julian continue the hunt, Grace finds herself falling in love with the man behind the spy. Yet Julian’s past holds a dark secret. And when he must make a choice between love and espionage, that secret may tear them apart.
*All photos from Wikimedia Commons and in the public domain.